Kunashir is the easiest of the volcanic Kuril Islands to visit and is the administrative capital of the archipelago. Ownership of the Kuril Islands is heavily disputed between Russia and Japan and is the reason why the two countries have never signed a peace treaty since WWII but the islands are famed for their unspoiled beauty and remarkable seafood, which is often sold for exorbitant prices in many of the worlds most expensive restaurants.
Located just 24km away from Hokkaido in Northern Japan the protracted political discussions between the two countries have led to there being a very basic tourist infrastructure but if you are seeking adventure and are willing to improvise then you may find exactly what you are looking for. Kunashir is sparsely populated but strikingly beautiful and is regarded as one of the most interesting islands in the Western Pacific Ocean. The main language utilised is Russian but the geography is distinctly Japanese with one of the Kuril Islands (Atlasov) bearing a remarkable resemblance to Mount Fuji. There is one hotel in Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Kunashir which caters for all travel groups so it is strongly advised to book well in advance even for alternative home stay options.
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